Making a Lasting Impact

At Relevance, we pride ourselves on having happy customers. We are constantly striving to ensure that, from the very start of a project, we will exceed our customers' expectations. Recently one of our customers made our day by coming to us with concrete evidence of the positive impact we'd made---in the form of a video!

The project was one where the system already existed, and the customer had a small team of two developers at work on it. Three of us from Relevance joined the project part-time for about three months, helping them complete a new release.

When the project manager learned about the Codeswarm tool, he thought it would be interesting to make a Codeswarm video of that period of time. He sent a copy of the video to us as a way of thanking us for our contribution. Here's an anonymized version of the video:


The most interesting thing about that video is not the most obvious thing. Yes, there's a big, clear flurry of activity when Relevance joined the team. But some of that is artificial: right at the start we vendored Rails into the repository and added a bunch of useful plugins. Some of the big burst of activity is related to that (although less than you might think).

No, the thing that most pleased our customer (and us!) is what happened after that. Watch just the first ten seconds of the video again: just the two client developers, before we joined the team. Then start watching at about the 15-second mark, after we'd been on the project for a little over a week. Don't watch the three Relevance developers; watch the two client developers. Do you see how their pattern of activity has changed? They are each making more frequent commits, and their commits involve more files.

That's the impact that our customer wanted us to see: that our involvement made his own developers more active, confident, and productive. That effect held on as our involvement in the project diminished, and even after we were gone. In his words, "You can definitely tell the impact you had on our project!"

Needless to say, we're thrilled. That's the kind of impact we want to have: knock it out of the park ourselves, and help the customer's team grow in the process. And to have the customer be so impressed that they take this much trouble to show us what they've seen---that's just icing on the cake.

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